Linda Parsons Marion is an editor at the University of Tennessee and the author of three poetry collections, most recently, Bound. She served as poetry editor of Now & Then magazine for many years and has received literary fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Associated Writing Programs’ Intro Award, among other awards. Marion’s work has appeared in journals such as The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Shenandoah, Asheville Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Potomac Review, Poet Lore, and Connecticut Review and in numerous anthologies, including Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia, Her Words: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women’s Poetry, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume III: Contemporary Appalachia. She was recently inducted in the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame and lives in Knoxville with her husband, poet Jeff Daniel Marion.



Old Words

Ah, the old words you polish and peel,
choice fruit for my stirred ruminations: ballpeen
and tenpenny hammered anew, cotoneaster
spreadeagle by the wayside. I say them
with you and after you, honeydew on the tongue,
a tad sigoglin. Here of late, memory’s diction
slips, my lexicon less akimbo, loose lipped.
What to do but stagger punchdrunk on the lawn’s
glissando, turn, turn ecclesiastical. Sanko on
over here, drop pebbled syllabics, six-stringed
enjambments like you never done before, howl
wordful under blue moon twice risen. Rapture
my puny breath to high heaven: sotto voce,
big as all getout. Speak, sacred harp.




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